In last week’s article, I stared to unpack the many ways in which our freedom is taken away from us. Some of the ways, in which our freedom is taken away, are through misguided parenting, marketing and advertising, the lure of popular culture and the education system, which, in most parts of the world, is just an indoctrination system. The question then arises, how can we begin to reclaim the freedom which is our birthright.
The first step to freedom is awareness. You have to become aware that you, and most people, are not truly free in modern day society. We are bombarded with influences every moment of our lives, whose agenda is to make us serve others and not ourselves, thereby usurping our freedom. What do I mean by this?
I can demonstrate this by example. Let’s look at modern day democracy. If the country we live in subscribes to democracy then we think that we live in a free society because we have the illusion of choice of who governs us. This illusion of choice is relegated through the process of election, however, most people who live in modern day democracies are sadly mistaken. There is no freedom under any form of government anywhere in the world. This is obvious when we see countries ruled by ruthless dictators, like North Korea, but is also true of all democracies.
Most democracies operate through a system in which there are two major parties and many minor parties. Let’s take the United States for example, in which the two major parties are Republicans and Democrats. In the United States, every four years, voters go to the polls to elect their next president with members of congress being voted for in other intervals. Even though anybody is free to run for these offices, we really have no choice as to who is voted in beyond the members of the two major parties. The reason for this is that they have the majority of the power and financial resources to launch massive campaigns to influence the masses.
The two presidential candidates of the major parties of Republicans and Democrats are also supported by strong lobbies from corporations and other private interests who will go to great lengths to make sure that the candidate who supports their agenda gets voted in. This usually entails influencing the masses through advertising, marketing, social media campaigns and even attacking the opposing candidate. This is why modern day politics, even in democracies, is seen as a ‘dirty game.’
The candidates who run for office make all sorts of promises to the masses as to how they are going to bring about the change that people seek. This, however, is far from the truth because, once a candidate is elected into presidential office, they are under so much control and influence that they have no power to make any real change. They are at the whim of Congress, which has the final say in any policy making and at the whim of the intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, NSA, FBI and others, who have their own domestic and foreign policy agendas to monitor and control the population locally and abroad. They are also at the whim of the powerful corporate and other private lobby groups who helped them get elected in the first place, whose agenda is usually self-serving and has nothing to do with what is good for the general population.
As you can see, democracy gives us an illusion of freedom, which is far from the truth. I am using this as one example to help you understand that we are not truly free because we are slaves to the institutions that run our societies, one of them being government. If we are to have even an inkling of a hope to becoming free, we must become aware of all the institutions and influences around us that are designed to take our freedom away.
In the next article I will continue to discuss the path to freedom and how we can start to break free of all the ties that bind us. In the mean time, start journaling about all the ways, you can think of, that our society works to take our freedom away. This is a vitally important exercise because the first step to freedom is awareness.
Dr. Nauman Naeem